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A Deep Dive Into The Numbers: Yankees vs Twins (Series Preview)

As we all know, the Yankees have had an injury plagued season for the ages. This has obviously impacted their on-field performance. While their 103 regular season wins is not shabby by any measure, I thought that if the playoff ready Yankees had been available all season, they would be a much better team and favorites over the Twins.

After a fair bit of grinding over the statistics, I’ve discovered that this is not the case. The teams are a virtual dead heat.

A word of caution. While I’m obviously very familiar with the Yankees, I’m not really familiar with the Twins, particularly their secondary players (e.g. back of the bullpen). This analysis may be off by a little bit, but mostly only for minor players who will not impact the results materially.

I’m using WAR (Wins Above Replacement player). This is the number of wins that a player can be expected to contribute over a replacement player (e.g. a waiver wire scrub). I’ve adjusted WAR up or down for a “full season.” I’ve guesstimated these numbers as 648 plate appearances (4 per game) per batter and 180 innings for a starting pitcher and 60 for a reliever. I used 5.5 WAR for Severino because his 12 innings skewed his results.

As we can see, I have the “Full Year Current Lineup” Yankees projected at 107 wins and the Twins at 105. Position players contribute 36.7 (Yankees) and 33.2 (Twins) wins. Starters are 14.4 for the Yankees and 16.9 for the Twins. I’ve penciled in J.A. Happ for the 4th Yankee starter – I think that a bullpen game is more likely with Domingo German lost for the season. The bullpens (6 players each) are 7.7 wins for the Yankees and 7.4 for the Twins.

I’m hoping that the Yankees can follow up on their 4-2 regular season record over the Twins with a win. But based on this analysis, I’d expect a hard fought series.


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